Common Talks “Just Wright,” Michael Jordan’s Boombox & Rappers Wanting To Be Ballers

One thing about hip-hop is that if you have talent, it transcends different boundaries, cultures, and genres.  If you are an old-school cat like me, when you think of the rapper Common you go farther back than when he hooked up with Kanye West, but when he was Common Sense.

“I Used to Love H.E.R.” is as relevant today as it was many years ago.  One of my favorite lines of all time comes from Jay-Z when he said:

“Truthfully, I wanna rhyme like Common Sense / but I did five Mil / I ain’t been rhyming like Common since”

While Jay was speaking to having to “dumb down his lyrics for dollars,” it also spoke to the respect that Common holds in the hip-hop community.

But as I stated before, when you are that talented those talents expand into other genres – and one of those genres for Common has been acting.  Common has been involved in acting as far back as 2003, but recently has gotten a lot of recognition for his parts in “Wanted” “Terminator: Salvation” and “Date Night” (I love that line when he says “Get up now”).

Currently, Common is promoting his new movie “Just Wright” a basketball-themed love story co-starring Queen Latifah.  That is where I come in; I was invited to take part in a conference call where Common spoke on various subjects – here are the highlights:

On the perception that rappers want to be NBA players and NBA players want to be ballers:

“I think it is a true perception because where I grew up the ballers and the rappers were our heros.  I still have hoop dreams to this day.  I only started rapping when I got injured playing ball and started to make demo tapes.  So I have always been connected to basketball in some way.”

On being a ball boy for the Bulls during Michael Jordan’s rookie year:

“MJ had brought in a big radio to the locker room on the first exhibition game.  He was playing his music really loud and Rod Thorn (Bulls GM at the time) told him he couldn’t play it, but three exhibition games later he could play what he wanted.  By that time everyone knew he was something special.”

“Being next to greatness in its beginning stages was great.”

On acting:

“Acting is so much fun to me, I want to do it for the rest of my life.”

On training for the role of being a NBA player:

“I trained with the assistant coach of the New Jersey Nets.  He trained me like a real NBA player… I was taking 300 shots a day, I really felt like an athlete.  I did some pick-up games, but when guys see someone famous they try extra hard to block your shot, so I had to fall back from that.”

On why it is more than just a basketball movie:

“It is about love and basketball, but it isn’t the “Love and Basketball” movie from back in the day.  It also has the realistic sports action that guys love.  It is about a guy who finds love in an unusual place.  You feel good leaving the movie – and inspired.”

On the current Bulls and Derrick Rose:

“I think Derrick Rose, being one of the best guards ever, right now he is one of the best guards in the league.  I would like D-Wade and Amar’e Stoudemire to come to Chicago.  I have put the bug in D-Wade’s ear… we might have to get Oprah involved.”

The movie “Just Wright” opens nationwide on May 14th.  Definitely gets the RL Approval, so check it out and tell me what you think.

Here are some more details about the film:

The romantic sports-comedy, JUST WRIGHT hits theaters on May 14 from Fox Searchlight.  JUST WRIGHT is set against the exciting world of championship basketball where the game of love takes on the battle of the sexes, and stars three of Hollywood’s most charismatic personalities as they navigate the full-court-press of love.  The film also feature cameos by NBA players and sports figures including Dwyane Wade, Rashard Lewis, Jalen Rose, Rajon Rondo, Marv Albert and many others.

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